This exhortation was given at Christ Church Downtown on September 6, 2020.
“Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The LORD has taken away the judgments against you; He has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil.
On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by his love; He will exult over you with loud singing.”Zephaniah 3:14–17
This morning I want to ask you: Does your God sing over you?
If we are being honest with our Reformed–Presbyterian selves, the claim that God is singing over us may seem a bit much at first. It sounds a little squishy, kind of suspicious, maybe like something you’d find in one of those poetic devotional type books at Walmart, “In embracing our brokenness we hear Abba Daddy singing shalom over us.”
Right? Sadly, that is where our minds tend to go when someone starts talking about God in this way.
We like to sing imprecatory psalms here.
We tread in Bible passages that other Christians dare not go.
We want preachers that preach the whole counsel of God.
But this same God, according to Zephaniah, tenderly sings over His people. And it is absolutely glorious.
This morning I want to highlight an aspect of our communion practice that might be overlooked—our posture.
We partake of the Lord’s Supper sitting.
I don’t know about you, but I was astonished to realize that it’s 2020 and we still have Father’s Day on our calendars. Father’s Day, the one day a year in our culture to honor the patriarchy it otherwise has smashed, hasn’t been cancelled.
Having recently finished J. C. Ryle’s autobiography published by Banner of Truth, I wanted to share one of the small things that I enjoyed throughout: his mention of dogs. As a dog person myself, it was fun to find that this 19th-century Englishman clearly enjoyed them as well.
“And all the people answered, ‘His blood be on us and on our children!’” (Mt. 27:25)
Perhaps one of the most misinterpreted teachings of our Lord today can be found in Matthew 24, known as the Olivet Discourse. It is here where many Christians find what they believe to be still-future prophecies regarding the end of the world – wars, earthquakes, persecution, false prophets, the ‘abomination of desolation’, signs in the sky, and more terrifying things before the return of Christ.
In fact, when preparing for this position paper we experienced an earthquake in Idaho and then a few weeks later fear of COVID-19 swept our nation. Both of these events, along with locusts in Africa, have been referred to by John Piper as “pointers” reminding us of Christ’s return. But what if this is a misapplication of Jesus’ lesson to His disciples on the Mount of Olive? What if in this particular passage he was primarily referring to an event that has already taken place?
In this short look at Matthew 24, I will seek to show that Jesus’ prophecy in the Olivet Discourse has already been fulfilled—specifically at the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. I too once believed that Jesus’ prophecy was yet to be fulfilled and turned to Matthew 24 in order to understand the “end times.” But I now believe that if we pay proper attention to the context, audience, and the way in which Jesus’ prophecy was fulfilled after His ascension, we can see that the events described in the Olivet Discourse have indeed taken place.
This man wrote the book that led me to see Jesus of Nazareth as “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt. 16:16).
A few years ago before his young colleague Nabeel Qureshi went to be with the Lord, I told Nabeel about the impact of Ravi’s ministry on me when I was 16. Nabeel replied saying that he would let Ravi know since they were currently driving in a car together.
That was nice, but I look forward to telling Ravi in person one day—in glory.
Many Christians in Reformed churches today fall into two categories with regards to Christian holidays: staunch rejection of them as not Reformed or uncritical observance of them. In this position paper, my aim is to demonstrate that Christian holidays, specifically what have been called the five evangelical feast days, are both historically Reformed and profitable for the Church today.
This is the fifth year that I have tracked my reading, both recording my favorite books and also my overall reading on Goodreads. Previous years: 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015.
- Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin (Beveridge trans.)
- Principle of Protestantism, Philip Schaff
- Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Vols. I, II, III (particularly Vol. III)
- Given for You: Reclaiming Calvin’s Doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, Keith Mathison
- Andrew and the Firedrake, Douglas Wilson
- Reformed Dogmatics, Heinrich Heppe
- Can We Trust the Gospels? Peter J. Williams
- Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West, Stephen Ambrose
- A Failure of Nerve, Edwin Friedman
- The Theopolitan Vision, Peter Leithart
- The Virtue of Nationalism, Yoram Hazony